Team Kenya CEO claims Kemboi plot

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NAIROBI, Kenya, June 29- Team Kenya CEO Stephen Soi claimed on Thursday that he has details on assault charges filed against steeplechase star Ezekiel Kemboi that differ from the account given by his main accuser, Ann Njeri.

He however, declined to expose the information he has against allegations made by the 26-year-old restaurant owner from Eldoret who claims she was stabbed by the Athens Olympics and double world champion on Wednesday night after declining his sexual overtures.

“As it stands, the incident is an allegation and constitutionally he is innocent he is innocent until proven guilty but an incident has occurred. I have a different version of what transpired but I do not want to disclose that because it may jeopardise the course of the investigation.

“The information we have is totally different from what may been portrayed but the matter is in court and I cannot discuss it,” he revealed as he ruled out the expulsion of Kemboi from the London bound team as an option for them in the interim.

Consequently, the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) has dispatched an official to ascertain the facts of the case that saw Kemboi on the dock in Eldoret on Thursday in an incident that has put his London 2012 hopes in the balance.

“The incident involving Kemboi is most unfortunate, secondly, we are aware on the restrictions UK imposes on any person involved in human rights issues.

“As Nock, we are still consulting and we will be working in collaboration with the systems we have to find out what are the implications,” Soi stated in acknowledgement of the strict laws that restrain persons involved in criminal charges and convictions from entering the UK.

“Kemboi was charged in court and we don’t have the facts on what actually transpired and we have sent somebody on the ground to establish what really happened.

“The country which is hosting the Olympics Games does not have the right to deny a participant who has been formally appointed by their respective country to participate in the Olympics Games,” he explained why they were yet to withdraw the Athens gold medallist who was seventh in Beijing four years ago from the team.

“That is the reason why accreditation is a waiver of visa requirement, that is an exception but we will address the issue as soon as we get all the fact to see what the way forward is,” the CEO explained.

Soi admitted the case had cast a dark shadow on the build-up for London Olympics as he called on the media to avoid speculation until all facts are established.

“This will have the effects on the team and we are having high level consultation on the way forward. The country comes first before individual and should the need arise that this will cause disrepute to the country and the team, we will take appropriate action,” the CEO stressed.

Officials are eyeing Athens bronze winner, Paul Kipsiele or Commonwealth and African winner, Richard Mateelong as potential replacements with the former ahead in the queue should Kemboi’s stay in the team prove untenable.

Kemboi, who collected the world title in Berlin 2009 and Daegu, last year, qualified for London my finishing second to Beijing winner, Brimin Kipruto at the Kenyan Trials last Saturday where third placed Abel Mutai also made the team.

In his statement to police in Eldoret, the flamboyant athlete who attracted a huge number of his fans during the mention of case charged that the whole incident was an attempt to rob him when he dropped Njeri to her mother’s home on Wednesday night.

Senior Principal Magistrate Francis Kiambia deferred hearing of the case until September 31 after his lawyers Ledisha Kishon and William Chemok pleaded to the court to set it after London Olympics.

Kemboi was released on a Sh50,000 ($588) bond or Sh20,000 ($235) pending the hearing of the case.

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